Genetic markers for identification of southern pine speciesThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) is paternally inherited in pine species (Pinus spp.), hence potentially useful in developing genetic markers for four common southern pine species [longleaf pine (P. palustris Mill.), loblolly pine (P. taeda L.), shortleaf pine (P. echinata Mill.), and slash pine (P. elliottii Engelm.)]. In this study, we (a) developed a simple DNA tool to accurately distinguish pure longleaf pine seeds or seedlings from other pine species, a critically important aspect of any longleaf pine restoration effort, and (b) validated the accuracy of identified genetic marker/specific primer combinations that uniquely identify the four pine species. Four genetic markers identified in this study correctly distinguished the four southern pine species based on the evaluation of over 200 tissue samples from multiple sources in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi that were tested. This DNA-based tool will enable routine and timely detection of natural hybridization when screening for seeds or seedlings intended for the restoration of pine ecosystems in southern region of the United States.